What is laser cyclophotocoagulation?

Laser cyclophotocoagulation is a procedure where laser energy is applied to the eye in order to reduce eye pressure. The laser energy is directed toward the part of the eye that produces fluid. The goal is to decrease fluid production and therefore decrease pressure.

How is the surgery performed?

Because anesthesia is given to the eye for the procedure, the laser is performed in the operating room. The laser may be applied one of two ways. For transscleral laser, a small probe is placed on the white part of the eye and laser treatment is applied without any incisions into the eye. For endoscopic laser, the probe is inserted inside the eye and the laser treatment is applied from inside. A small incision is made in the cornea (the clear front part of the eye), similar to the incision made in cataract surgery. A small camera is also placed inside the eye to directly view the laser treatment. In both cases, the laser treatment is directed at the ciliary body, the part of the eye that produces fluid.

Am I candidate?

Laser cyclophotocoagulation is indicated for a range of refractory glaucomas. It is also a good option for pressure reduction in eyes where high eye pressure is causing pain. Endoscopic laser can only be done in patients who have had their cataracts removed, or in conjunction with cataract surgery.

What are the risks of surgery?

As with all eye surgery, there is a risk of infection, bleeding, or decrease vision. Sometimes, a single laser treatment is not sufficient and repeat treatments are needed to adequately reduce pressure. There is a risk that the pressure becomes too low after laser. There is a risk of prolonged inflammation, swelling of the retina (back of the eye), or development of cataract in patients who have not had cataract surgery.